When Microsoft announced its plans to purchase Activision Blizzard, one of the first questions was whether Call of Duty and the publisher’s other existing titles would eventually become Xbox exclusives. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer quickly stated that Microsoft plans to honor existing contractual agreements between Sony and Activision regarding Call of Duty specifically and vaguely expressed a desire to keep the series on PlayStation.
Though pretty definitive, the second bit of Phil’s statement left room for interpretation. A new blog post by Microsoft further clarifies its commitment to keeping Activision Blizzard titles multiplatform. The post, which discusses a new set of Microsoft Store principles in preparation for the Activision acquisition approval process, says the following:
To be clear, Microsoft will continue to make Call of Duty and other popular Activision Blizzard titles available on PlayStation through the term of any existing agreement with Activision. And we have committed to Sony that we will also make them available on PlayStation beyond the existing agreement and into the future so that Sony fans can continue to enjoy the games they love. We are also interested in taking similar steps to support Nintendo’s successful platform. We believe this is the right thing for the industry, for gamers and for our business.
In short, Microsoft will continue to allow future Call of Duty entries and other titles to remain multiplatform even after they’re not legally required to. You can still interpret this message to refer to existing franchises with established fanbases. New IPs could be a different story. But for now, those who want to continue playing Overwatch, Diablo, or Crash Bandicoot on multiple consoles seemingly have nothing to worry about in the long term.
As a reminder, assuming Microsoft’s acquisition passes the lengthy government approval process, the deal isn’t expected to close until around the summer of 2023. Activision Blizzard continues to operate as an independent entity until that time. If/when that happens, it’s good to know that whatever dead Activision franchises Microsoft chooses to resurrect have a strong chance of appearing on non-Xbox platforms.